Tag Archives: self-similarity

Conversation with a Mirror

I said, “Before I write another word
and send it, helpless, out into the void,
I’d like to find a topic less absurd
than how the world leaves me only annoyed

when I encounter it each passing day;
it does not woo me as in years now past,
but hawks its wares draped in pale shades of gray
that only serve to say they will not last.”

To which my mirror self made this reply:
“‘Tis not the world that has ceased to inspire,
and let its palette’s spectrum fade and dry.
Who would lay blame to life is a poor liar,

that with a wish to leave their guilt unsung
would find the taste of even sugar sour;
and name the fault not in their wretched tongue,
but cast aspersions on some unnamed power

that in a cruel and senseless show of strength
could hold one tiny soul in such regard
to bother with its quality or length
and make that path alone bitter or hard.”

“Alas,” I then replied, “perhaps you’re right:
that life has lost its savour is my shame;
what effort I could make to end this plight,
I’ve left undone. Excuses? Mine are lame,

and make me out a victim, weak and tired;
they reek of indolence and wasted years,
when I, who was so proud to be inspired,
succumbed instead to ordinary fears.”

‘Twas then that my reflection gave a laugh
and whispered, “To admit that, is a start.
Now, write yourself a different epitaph;
and this time, don’t pretend to be so smart.”

22 MAY 2007

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Something I Can Feel

This bar’s got a jukebox; for a quarter, you can hear the latest big-time songs;
there’s no need to book live entertainment if all you want is just to sing along.
Yes, I’ll take requests, but not too many; don’t be hurt if your favorite’s not on queue.
I know a lot of numbers, but to tell the honest truth, there’s only certain kinds of songs I’ll do.

It’s gotta be true to who I say I am;
if it’s gonna make anyone listen or give two fifths of a damn;
It’s gotta be straight and speak from the place I know;
if it’s gonna be worth the money that it costs to see the show;
It’s gotta be more than some old line that builds up crowd appeal;
It’s gotta be saying something I can feel.

There’s not much reason for seeing live music if all you want to hear is someone else.
You’re better off just cranking up the jukebox; it sounds much better than I can myself.
Sometimes it’s those old songs not in rotation that touch you, when the band begins to play;
it creates something that’s real, not imitation, and it offers so much more than some DJ.

And if you don’t know what you’re asking
when you ask me to perform
like a chicken on a barbwire stage
who’ll dance when it gets warm,
then it doesn’t really matter what I’m singing anyway.
You just sit back there and listen; I’ll decide what songs to play…

It’s gotta be true to who I say I am;
if it’s gonna make anyone listen or give two fifths of a damn;
It’s gotta be straight and speak from the place I know;
if it’s gonna be worth the money that it costs to see the show;
It’s gotta be more than some old line that builds up crowd appeal;
It’s gotta be saying something I can feel.

‘Cause if it don’t mean nothing to me
then what am I singing for?
There are better ways to get by
than a percent of the door …

It’s gotta be true to who I say I am;
if it’s gonna make anyone listen or give two fifths of a damn;
It’s gotta be straight and speak from the place I know;
if it’s gonna be worth the money that it costs to see the show;
It won’t ever be really good, if it’s not something real.
It’s gotta be saying something I can feel.

19 MAR 2006

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Jury of My Peers

The Fiction of a jury of my peers:
to think that there are twelve more just like me,
who’ll be available should I require
their patient ears and minds to keep me free.

To be complete, the dozen must include
not only those who’ve walked my walk, but more:
the ones who might have done it, but refrained;
a couple souls that chose alternate means;

perhaps another who went far afield,
whose situation started where I stand;
a few who should have made it to this point,
but found their progress blocked by chance, or place.

To truly be a twelfth of what I am
each member of this elite group will be
an equal coward, hero, sage or fool:
my other selves of possibility.

15 MAR 2004

Peer: a person who is an equal in social standing, rank, age, etc., example: to be tried by one’s peers [ETYMOLOGY: 14th Century: from Old French per, from Latin par equal]

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Me and My Shadow

Inside me is a shadow
that waits for days like these:
when small things blossom into
catastrophes, its seems
to swallow up the sunshine,
and linger, like a fog
there on the steps beside me
as my feet slowly move
into this house, where love lives
and life is sweet and good.

It follows me in silence
and fills my mind with fears:
that I am not worth loving
and will just disappear.

And then, it bites in anger
at my protesting self,
sapping my strength and motive,
so I can barely think.

A dark, foreboding takes me
from this fair world of light,
and in its grasp I flounder.

No hand hold to be found
nor peaceful thought of beauty
there in that place of woe.

I lay no blame on others
for this, my wretched state —
it comes upon me, sometimes
and will not dissipate
until its passion passes,
and leaves me, sore and tired.

There is no rhyme or reason,
save I am uninspired.

And is this lack of sunshine
the fault of those I love?
No, it is just my shadow,
half of what I’m made of.

28 AUG 2003

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Truth is Stranger Than Fiction

It is sometimes quite odd the things that happen when you are on a journey of self-discovery. Take this weekend, for example. I was sitting around, minding my own business, meditating and updating various computer things, and the telephone rang.
The voice on the other end asked, “may I speak to John Litzenberg, please?”

I responded, “this is he.”

The man on the other end replied, “so is this.”

Apparently, about two years ago, this man’s son was visiting in New Orleans, and was his wont, he looked up other Litzenbergs in the phone book. Finding someone listed with his father’s name, he wrote it down and gave the note to his dad when he returned home to Elkton, MD. While going through his desk, John Litzenberg found my name and number, and immediately thought to call me up.

We talked for a while about ancestry and family history (we had never met, but I informed him if he wanted more information on me, that I was in the big Litzenberg-Litzenberger book [compiled by my cousin Homer L. (whose father was Blitzin’ Litzen, the Marine Corps Brigadier General in charge of Marine forces in Korea, BTW)] as entry 3778), and shared pleasantries and such for about 15 minutes. He is apparently in real estate; I am in project management and information technology consulting. Both of us lamented the high cost of the reunion trips that are planned every year to Gemunden, Germany for persons of like name, and noted that while there seem to be a great number of Litzenbergs active in the States, probably keeping their numbers at no more than a thousand or so is a good thing, as we seem to be a rather “ornery” bunch (LOL).

As he is in his early sixties, he of course had the name first. But it is still quite odd to talk to yourself on the phone, is it not?

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